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Last updated : Nov 2009
Shanghai Getting Around
Getting Around Shanghai - TravelPuppy.com
Public Transport

The public transport system, especially buses and minibuses, is not usually attempted by foreign visitors, unless they have a good understanding of Mandarin Chinese. Travel by metro or taxi is without a doubt the easier option. Shanghai Municipal Public Transportation Administration (tel: (21) 6323 2150) makes a good effort of operating an integrated and comprehensive system, albeit overburdened and striving to keep pace with the city’s breakneck expansion.

City buses (tel: (21) 1608 8160) operate 05:00-23:00 and can be frightfully crowded during rush hours (06:30-08:30 and 17:00-19:00), with consequent rudeness. Flat fares of RMB1 (up to RMB3 for air-conditioned buses) must be paid to the conductor. Major city-centre routes are numbered – outlying and long-distance buses only list their destination in characters. Minibuses follow a few regular routes within the city and the flat fare of RMB2 guarantees a seat. A limited suburban minibus service is available with fares of RMB2.

Unlike the chaos of the bus network, Shanghai metro (operating 05:00-23:00) is clean, on-time, and easy to navigate. Three lines are operating to date, with more being built.

 The Number 1 Line runs north–south from Shanghai Railway Station to the southern suburb of Xinzhuang.

 The Number 2 Line operates west–east from Zhongshan Park to Longyang Lu in Pudong.

 The Pearl Line operates north–south from Jiangwan Zhen in the north to Shanghai South Station in the south.

 Stations have a red sign resembling an ‘M’. Tickets cost RMB3 for trips of 13 stops and RMB4 for further. These can be purchased from the ticket offices above the platforms or in books of RMB90. There is no integrated travel card or saver ticket plan. Signs and announcements in trains are in Mandarin Chinese as well as English. Long-term plans for further development of the network are ambitious.


Even with the alarming metal cages enclosing the drivers, Shanghai taxis are actually safe, reliable, plentiful, and cheap. Taxis are metered and it is a good idea to watch the meter carefully. Many fleet companies operate Shanghai taxis, which are almost alwaysVolkswagensSantanas or Passats – manufactured locally. Fares are usually RMB10 for the first two kilometres and RMB2 each kilometre thereafter, rising to RMB13 and RMB2.6 per kilometre in the evening (23:00-05:00). Maps and written addresses or business cards are the best way for visitors to direct taxi drivers, as not many speak English.

Taxis can be booked in advance from some of the major fleets, including Friendship Taxi (tel: (21) 6258 4584) or Dazhong Taxi (tel: (21) 6320 7207). Although not obligatory, a tip of 10% of the final fare is appreciated.

The Shanghai Municipal Taxi Association (tel: (21) 6368 1055) can provide additional information.


Many major taxi fleets also run a limousine service. Dazhong Taxi (tel: (21) 6320 7207) is a reputable supplier. Prices start at around RMB600 per day for an Audi.

Driving in the City

With the heavy presence of taxis in Shanghai, it doesn't make much sense for a visitor to rent a car without good reason. Hiring a driver is also advised, given the frantic traffic, the Chinese road signs and the difficulties involved. Ownership of cars is still not very common in Shanghai, however it is more common here than just about anywhere else in China.There is a large number of Bicycles and many accidents involve them – drivers should remember this. Shanghai also has an extremely high fatality rate per numbers of drivers, so extreme caution when driving is required.

Car Hire

To rent a car, an International Driving Permit, air ticket, passport and a credit card to cover the large deposit are mandatory.

Shanghai Angel Car Rental (tel: (21) 6229 0858) is among the biggest local agencies, and has offices at both airports. Dazhong (tel: (21) 6320 7207) is another good company. In 2000, Hertz signed an agreement with China National Auto Anhua to operate jointly in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen, nevertheless, the agency still advises foreign visitors to only hire a car with a local driver. The normal hire rate starts at RMB320 per day.

Bicycle Hire

Shanghai’s untiring self-improvement has still not made any difference to its citizens’ reliance on bicycles, which are everywhere – not leisure bicycles but working, load-carrying machines. Given the chaotic state of rush-hour traffic, this may be just as well, but, caution is recommended when crossing the street or even on the pavement. A foreigner daring to ride a bike in Shanghai likewise needs 360-degree vision and lungs of iron as well as an official registration, applications must be made at the main district police stations.

Bicycles can be rented from the YMCA Bike Shop, 485 Yongjia Lu (tel: (21) 6472 9325), for RMB20 per day plus RMB100 deposit. Park bikes in the ubiquitous bike parks, as bicycle theft is common.
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